Category: World Fare

Letters, winter, and sourdough

Letters, winter, and sourdough

This winter, though stressful when it comes to national news, has actually been quite pleasant at home. One of the delights has been receiving letters from our three-year-old friend, Mira. With her mom’s help, she writes a letter a day, complete with drawings and stickers. We love it, and can’t wait to hang out with these friends again when the weather warms up!

So much snow!

We’ve actually had a real winter this year, with regular snow and a lovely snow storm this month to accompany a big cold snap. Between our home downtown and Kirstin’s work at the retreat center, we got lots of good exercise shoveling snow.

Zuzu still enjoying the wood stove.

We’ve also been getting good exercise hauling wood up the stairs to our second floor home for our new wood stove. We’re not sure if we’ve been more excited about this, or our cat Zuzu, who spends her day meticulously calibrating her body temp nearer and further from the stove. Hot apple cider on the stove after shoveling has been a real treat.

Mmmmmmm …. sourdough bread.

Another lovely winter treat has been a new sourdough recipe Kirstin found. The starter we use is from our friend Sylvia from years ago, and after trying quite a few different recipes, we think we’ve finally found one that makes a dependably delicious, easy, beautiful loaf of bread. Tuesday is quickly becoming soup-and-fresh-bread night, following Monday spaghetti night.


With the pandemic continuing, we’ve been staying close to home, but Kirstin did get the chance to go on retreat in one of the cabins at work for a few nights. It was nice to have some quiet time to read, sleep, and just think.

New sign for World Fare!

In the meantime, Rob finalized plans to get a new sign installed on our building for the store on the main floor. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s going to look great! It will be nice to have a refreshed look as the weather gets warmer and leans toward spring.

Standing for peace, building community in a new year

Standing for peace, building community in a new year

We kicked off the new year with our very important tradition: Belgian waffles! Usually we’d have a big crew around our kitchen table for brunch and even though all that is on hold because the pandemic, we still enjoyed a sweet breakfast with our friend Willard’s maple syrup.

Waffles on New Year’s Day!

While we were still off work, we turned two bushels of apples from our local orchard into apple sauce, dried apple rings, and apple butter. These join a wide variety of canned and frozen foods we put up when they were in season throughout the past year. Eating local, in-season foods is very important to us for many reasons, including nutrition, supporting local farmers, and of course: the pleasure of anticipation and indulgence! Among our winter favorites: Monday spaghetti night features sauce Rob made and froze from tomatoes he grew, and Kirstin makes an amazing butternut squash mac n’ cheese.

Our fun with food is about to get even closer to our kitchen. Since 2003, we’ve helped out with a volunteer-run fair trade store on the Main Street level right below our home. This winter, we’ve been working on adding local and organic groceries, which involved a major rearranging of our small store space. We can’t wait to be able to get most of our groceries right downstairs, and we’re looking forward to raising a child who knows the shop as part of our home, and all of our fellow volunteers as part of our family.

Coming soon: Local and organic groceries in World Fare!

Even while we continue to build community in our neighborhood, the news on a national level has been pretty chaotic, with disturbing violence at the U.S. Capitol. In response, a friend of ours organized a weekly “Stand for Peace” event a half block from our house. Even though it’s just a small thing, standing outdoors for an hour on a Sunday afternoon—even in sub-zero temps—has helped build relationships and encourage our neighbors that we each have a part to play in creating a society that works for all people.

Stand for Peace in downtown Three Rivers.
Slowing down, catching up

Slowing down, catching up

September began for us with HarmonyFest, an annual festival celebrating our community’s diversity that happens right in downtown Three Rivers where we live. That’s also the weekend we celebrate the anniversary of the fair trade store we helped start, and we did so this year with a drum circle in the store. HarmonyFest takes place the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, which is also a weekend that Kirstin’s family often comes to Three Rivers to spend time at the family cottage, so it was fun to hang out at the lake on Labor Day with the fam.

Drum circle at World Fare

After the holiday, September has been a month of catching up on things after the busy summer, like food preservation and back yard maintenance (it was starting to look a bit like a jungle!). September is also Kirstin’s birthday month, and we celebrated this year with some down time at GilChrist Retreat Center, where Kirstin works. It was nice to spend some intentional time in reflection in the beauty of nature after a very busy summer.

Our backyard
Making salsa from our tomatoes
Transitioning to the new year

Transitioning to the new year

As usual, we ended one year and started the next with friends at our apartment. We got married on New Year’s Eve, 2000 because it sounded like a nice time to bring friends and family together and Kirstin was between semesters for her final year of college. For many years since then, we’ve hosted a gathering at our place, which sort of doubles as a New Year’s Eve party and anniversary celebration. It’s also a fun opportunity to gather with friends after spending much of the holidays with our families. New Year’s Day usually finds us sharing waffles and resolutions around the dining room table, and this year was no exception. We shared (again) our hopes of starting a family, along with other personal goals. 

Shortly after the new year began, we began work to refresh World Fare, the fair trade store on Main Street below our apartment. Along with our board of directors and volunteers, we’d been anticipating a two-week closure in January (our slowest month) to upgrade our point-of-sale system, retrain volunteers, and make some aesthetic improvements to the store. It took a lot of cooperation, hard work, and detail organization, but we got it done and the store feels much brighter and more functional now!

Painting World Fare
Painting World Fare